The start of the ZEPIC journey!

It’s been nearly two months since we embarked on this epic journey. All the new people that I meet seem to have similar questions — “Why did you start up during this time as the economic conditions are not that conducive?”, “How did you guys come together?”, “Why the name ZEPIC” etc.  I felt it's only fair that I spare a moment to pen down my thoughts on these frequently asked questions!!

In this post, Sree shared his side of the story on starting up. Now it is my turn. Read on to understand what transpired behind the scenes, how we came together to start this epic adventure in this not very ideal state of the economy and a whole lot of insider info. A drink might be handy :D

First things first - 

Why start up again -

I joined Zoho straight out of college and was really fortunate to work on fascinating projects with great minds. Working under the mentorship of Raju Vegesna (the Chief Evangelist of Zoho) opened up a lot of new avenues for experimenting. Having worked at Zoho for more than a decade, I learnt quite a lot from Sridhar/Raju and other leaders at various milestones in my career. Values such as being frugal and employee focussed, building world class products, daring to compete against the giants — be it Microsoft, Salesforce, Google etc are sure to last a lifetime.

With these values imbibed in me, I started Zarget. The vision was to build a world-class Marketing automation tool to help marketers seamlessly engage with their customers. I was ultimately able to realize that dream at Freshworks — We rebranded Zarget as Freshmarketer and achieved many magic milestones at Freshworks. Thanks to Girish and Shan for allowing us to continue building our dream and work like a startup in a bigger organization.

Again, I was fortunate enough to watch and learn from Girish, what a global product company from India can achieve — from wearing the Growth Hat to taking FRSH to NASDAQ and being the first ever Indian SaaS company to be listed on the US stock markets!! I still get goosebumps when I think about it :)

Being a grad of Zoho School and Freshworks Academy, I wanted to replicate the family culture of Zoho, the growth mindset of Freshworks and at the same time enjoy the product building process with the people that I share a good rapport with. So that’s when and where it all started.

About the team -

I’ve known Sunil and BK (Bharathi Kannan) from our Zoho days — I always enjoyed working with these folks building innovative solutions at Zarget and also handling premium customers with Freshmarketer at Freshworks.

When the startup bug bit me again, the first two people that I talked to were these boyyss — And when I pitched the idea of starting up again, they immediately agreed.. It was like winning a chess game against the World Champion — Magnus Carlsen :)

And when we were discussing the need for a growth expert to complement our skills — Sunil suggested Sreelesh. Sunil and Sree worked closely during Zoho days and he was the #007 of Freshworks — Not only was his employee number 007, he also played a major role in Freshdesk while they achieved the multi-million-dollar milestones. He also setup the Freshworks office in the ANZ region. Without knowing that he quit Freshworks and was on a break, we called Sree to see if he could join hands with us and he readily agreed. Fun Fact : Sree was wearing his Zoho tee (a 14 year old one) and was returning from a temple visit when we called :) How Sree still manages to fit into a 14 year old tee is a discussion for a different day, but it’s safe to say that we could hear the bells ringing :)

As the next step we got together, exchanged notes, and discussed various things. I realized that this is a team that I can trust my life with and wanted to take the plunge with these three gems!!

Now.. we’ve grown to be a founding family of 7 with Dinesh (ex-Zarget/FRSH), Srithar (ex-Zoho/FRSH), AV (Arun Velu) (ex-FRSH/CTS), all trusting us at this early stage!!

For those of you who asked - why starting up now - 

It doesn’t matter when you startup - The state of the economy doesn’t matter at all when you have a good quality founding team that lays a solid foundation. Build a tight-knit team and a world class product and everything will fall in place :) 

If you are looking to be a part of our journey, do send us your profile over careers@zepic.com along with a short note on how you could make this roller-coaster ride even more epic with us. :) You could be part of our next pack of 7!

Why the name ZEPIC?

Being in the SaaS space for more than 15 yrs, we know that this could well be our last hurrah and obviously we wanted it to be truly epic - thus, ZEPIC was born. 

Those who know me well, may know that I have a thing for the letter Z - Don’t ask me why - but Zoho -> Zarget -> Freshworks - you get the drift :) Yes, we considered various names starting with Z - Zotap, ZipOne, Zort.io, Zopo.io, but ZEPIC had a unique ring to it that set it apart from the rest!!

((For those of who think what is Z in Freshworks - it’s G (Girish), the Z factor ;))

What do we do at ZEPIC?

Now comes the most important factor - what gaps are we going to address and what challenges are we going to solve at ZEPIC. 

If you still haven’t read Sree’s post do check it out now -

We are working on building a No-code Customer Data platform purpose-built for customer engagement powered by AI (should I say ChatGPT :))

One of the challenges we've observed in the market is the fragmentation of customer data across different platforms and tools. For example, every D2C or B2C brand uses different tools to manage various aspects of their digital presence. This creates siloed data which can be a major obstacle to effective customer management and engagement. Marketers or any GTM team member may not have a clear view of their customers’ behavior, leading to generic messages and ineffective campaigns at the wrong time.

Here are the 3 unique differentiators of ZEPIC - 

  1. ZEPIC will be a true, organization-wide customer data platform, providing a 360-degree view of the customer that can be used across Go To Market teams.

    For marketers — ZEPIC provides various data points that can be used to create personalized and targeted campaigns across the preferred channels of the customer — Email, SMS, WhatsApp and so on. For sales  — With Unified Customer Records, sales teams will be able to see how prospects are interacting 360-degrees with the brand/product, giving them the insights they need to map customer needs better and close deals faster. For customer success  — With a holistic view of the customer that includes product usage and engagement data, Customer Success Managers will be able to quickly identify and address customer issues, anticipate churn, and proactively engage with customers to improve their experience.
  2. Our no-code approach will make it easy for teams to set up campaigns and workflows without needing to rely on engineering support. When we say no-code, we truly mean it, aided by ChatGPT in multiple dimensions - the non-techies will be able to use ZEPIC quickly, saving time and increasing efficiency.
  3. And the icing on the cake — We are building something cool that can easily ingest data from different sources, help harmonize and segment the data to then enable effective engagement - It will truly be magical that we are calling it ZEPIC Genie :)

To know more about ZEPIC, send us a note on your customer data and engagement challenges and we will add you to our Early Access list and make our Genie assist you :)

We are available 24x7 over hello@zepic.com and over our social handles!

P.S - As I was proof-reading the post, I had the feeling that the post was a bit lengthy, but wasn’t sure about it. Thanks to ChatGPT for reassuring me and the note :)

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